Call centers signify high-pressure work environments. Employees working in call centers are almost always under pressure to optimize performance and meet their targets. This often results in employee burnout, which directly impacts customer service quality and workplace satisfaction.
Therefore, Call center managers must be on the lookout for symptoms of burnout in the best interest of the company and the employees. However, first, let us understand the phenomenon of burnout.
What is Call Center Burnout?
Call Center Burnout is a psychological syndrome that results from enduring mental, physical, emotional, and/or interpersonal stress and exhaustion within a call center. It often leads to decreased performance levels, low productivity, demotivation, and high attrition rates. All these factors can seriously disrupt customer service and impact the company’s bottom line.
Call centers primarily rely on agent performance to deliver customer service. When agents lack the energy or motivation to perform, it can become a cause of serious concern for any organization. Therefore, it is necessary to identify and control the symptoms of call center burnout before they start escalating and plaguing your call center.
Outlined below are some proven tips to identify call center burnout.
Fatigue and exhaustion are two cardinal outputs of stress existing in call center environments. Employees who are exposed to call center stress for a prolonged period start experiencing its negative impact in the form of extreme tiredness. This leads them to take longer breaks or ask for time-off frequently. Call center managers must bear in mind that exhaustion indicates that the agents are showing early signs of call center burnout and they deserve immediate attention to prevent further escalation of the issue.
- Lack of Concentration
Chronic stress can hinder an agent’s ability to concentrate and remember details or information. When agents are under an undue amount of stress, their attention span decreases or it is consumed by the stress triggers. If the stress continues for a prolonged period, it can inhibit an agent’s ability to pay attention to other things. This can constrain their ability to make decisions or solve problems. That is why this issue must be dealt with effectively and nipped in the bud itself.
- Anger and Resentment
Anger and resentment are two significant symptoms of burnout that give away its presence among call center employees. The early stages of burnout are characterized by agents feeling frustrated, irritated, tense, or angry at an increased level. As the burnout starts to consume an agent, the outbursts of anger enhance and often results in heated arguments with customers, colleagues, or managers. By recognizing these early signs of burnout, agents can be prevented from this phenomenon before it starts impacting them further.
- Decrease in Productivity
A common symptom of burnout is a decreased level of productivity on part of the agent. For a call center manager, it easily comes to notice when an agent starts to miss deadlines, has declining KPIs, or cannot perform at the level of efficiency as they once did. If the performance data sheet of the agent shows that there is a constant decrease in productivity as compared to recent times, it indicates that the agent is progressing towards burnout.
- Loss of Motivation
Loss of motivation can act as a clear indication of burnout. Call Center managers must be on their alert if they find that a certain agent has been frequently calling in sick, coming late for work, and frequently missing performance metrics or deadlines which they once met easily. The lack of motivation can lead to decreased performance level in all aspects. Unless the issue is addressed immediately, it will continue to increase and the burnout will take a bigger and uglier form.
- Increase in Escalated Calls
When an agent exhibits signs of burnout, he or she tends to be less patient with callers and less inclined to solve the customer issues. The agent feels more inclined to pass the difficult calls to someone else. Often the agent may not be enthusiastic to listen to the caller or resolve the issue. Customers interacting with such agents may complain to managers about them. If a manager happens to witness an increased number of escalated calls regarding a particular agent, it makes sense to understand that the customer may be experiencing burnout.
Call center managers who want to improve efficiency within their call center must understand the impacts of burnout. Further, they must be aware of how to recognize the symptoms and detect burnout in their initial stages and control it before it causes any significant damage.